'Don't be scared:' Woman who dated Jason Taufner urges others to get checked for HIV

MILWAUKEE -- Bond was set at $100,000 Saturday, Jan. 12 for a Waterford man accused of failing to tell his sex partners he was HIV positive.

On Monday, Jan. 14, an ex-girlfriend and co-worker of the 42-year-old suspect talked exclusively with FOX6 News about her ordeal. The woman wanted to share her story because she felt it was the right thing to do. While she wanted to remain anonymous, she had a message for those who think they also might be a victim.

"My heart goes out to them, the fear in general," said the former girlfriend.

Jason Taufner

It started as a love for art that quickly turned dark.

"How do you not tell six women? How do you not? Oh, he makes me angry," the woman said.

The woman said she worked with and dated 42-year-old Jason Taufner. During that time, she apprenticed as a tattoo artist around Wisconsin.

"He told me that he was HIV positive," said the woman.

Taufner is accused of engaging in sex and failing to inform six women he was HIV positive.

"How you don't tell somebody -- that is beyond me," the woman said.

Taufner was convicted twice previously for the same crime. However, his former apprentice said when they dated, Taufner did tell her he was HIV positive -- and took antivirals between 2015 and 2016. The two tattooed hundreds of people.

"As long as he took his medications, he knew it was still pretty much fine -- as long as it remained undetectable," the woman said.

The ex-girlfriend said she's concerned about what happened after 2017.

"He couldn't get those refills if he didn't go to those appointments -- and the antivirals then stopped being taken," the woman said.

Jason Taufner

As a tattoo artist, Taufner met some of the victims between 2017 and 2018 at Trust Tattoo in Milwaukee and Sacred Skin in West Allis.

"There is a chance after that point, you know, you got blood contact. I mean, get checked," the woman said. "If you were affected, don't be scared to come out."

A manager at Sacred Skin said if you were tattooed by Taufner, there is a very slim chance he infected you -- as they wear gloves and have a very sterile environment. A manager there also said Taufner was an independent contractor.

Taufner is due back in court on Friday, Jan. 18.